Since we’re all sending Christmas presents through the mail this time of year, it’s worth taking a look at the United States post office flat rate boxes. You can stuff up to 70 pounds of goods in these boxes and ship them anywhere in the United States for one set rate.
The boxes come in four sizes and have three different rates, as follows:
- The small flat rate box (8-5/8″ x 5-3/8″ x 1-5/8″) ships for $4.95.
Two different medium-size flat rate boxes (13-5/8″ x 11-7/8″ x 3-3/8″ and 11″ x 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″) ship for $10.70.
The large flat rate box (12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″) ships for $14.50.
You can save a lot of money shipping this way, especially if you have something heavy to send. For example, if you put 70 pounds of presents in the largest box and sent it across the county, it would cost you only $14.50 to ship. The same package sent through regular priority mail would cost $111.50, according to the USPS Postage Calculator. That’s a whopping $97 in savings.
In some cases, sending two of flat rate boxes may be cheaper than sending one big box. If I had 20 pounds in presents to send to my relatives and I put them all in one box, USPS tells me that would cost $51.25 to ship across the country. But if I split the presents into two large flat rate boxes, I would send them for $14.50 each, or $29. That’s $22.25 in savings.
Where you have to be careful is if you are shipping something light. Sending a two pound package across the country in the largest flat rate box costs $14.50, but sending it regular priority mail costs $9.55. In that case, using the flat rate would lose you about $5.
But all and all, these flat rate boxes are a good way to go. I wonder when Fedex and UPS will start doing the same thing. (Or do they already?)